Monday, February 22, 2010

The Mysterious King Confronts False Followers

Part 4 of this story series ...

The Passover Feast.
2,000 years ago.
Jerusalem, Israel.

They were the most highly esteemed men.

Religious leaders of their day, they propelled an entire nation through a stormy sea of Roman-era occupation.

They’d been taught the Law and the Prophets by the best experts: the scholars, the lawyers. They were raised in the best of homes. They had been taken to the Temple as week-old infants, and because of their Levite heritage, they were even then designated as part of the priestly remnant of the people.

They answered the most difficult questions, probing ancient manuscripts for answers.

They offered sacrifices to atone for the sins of others.

They alone had access to God’s inner court, the Holy of Holies.

Everywhere they went, they were revered. Respected. Elevated. Praised.

They went through the machinations of the Mosaic texts with determined accuracy, even building “rules for the rules” so that not one ink spot would be overlooked.

Their “worship” consisted of all of these trappings of outward religious activities and symbols.

But their hearts?

They preferred to overlook the hardship of their neighbor than break a rule for observing the Sabbath. In everyday life, they preached the intention of God’s word but failed to live it out.

In short, they were religious, not righteous.

Rule followers, but not loving.

And as a result, they were proud, arrogant, angry … and hateful.

What they didn’t realize was that centuries ago, when Isaiah saw the Mysterious King on the throne in the Temple, he also received a special prophecy – concerning them:

“He has blinded their eyes
and deadened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”

They were so immersed in their regimented world that they didn’t recognize the King that Isaiah saw. He walked in their midst, and they didn’t accept Him. He talked with them, and they didn’t know His voice.

Isaiah, you see, had actually seen the glory of Jesus that day.

He was the Mysterious King on the Throne. (John 12:41)

And Jesus, knowing their hearts, knowing that they were more concerned with the praise of men than with the true worship and love of His Father, didn’t mince words with them. He confronted these false followers, just a few days before they crucified Him.

“When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."

What do you think worship was like for these men?

When they arrived at the Temple for their morning prayers and business, did they see it as a chore, a redundancy in their weeks, a drudgery … a job?

If they’d seen it as Isaiah had experienced the Temple and that amazing vision of the Mysterious King, do you think they would have actually nailed that King to a cross?

And what does their attitude say to you about going to church, worshipping once a week the One who died for you?

If worship feels like a necessary evil, an interruption to your schedule, that can change for you.

How do I know?

Tune in for the next part of the story …

No comments:

Post a Comment